In about 17 hours Charlotte will be a full six weeks old. I can't believe it's been so long. These last six weeks have been the best of my life. There's been a couple sleepless nights, but only a couple. Every other night has been surprisingly restful. I sleep well not so deeply though that I don't hear her stir at night. I'm aware of where she is, and so don't worry about her suffocating. When she's hungry, her smacky sounds wake me and I pull her to me and help her find a nipple and she nurses and we both fall asleep. The last few nights she's started finding one on her own, and I only wake up if her nails poke me. When she needs a diaper change, Cody gets up and does that, acknowledging that it's enough for me to be up to nurse.
There've been I think three times now when she's had days that she's cried for what seems like no reason, or at least no reason we could find. Hours of crying. I suspect one of those times was due to her wanting to nurse for comfort and becoming painfully full, then wanting to nurse to feel better, making it all worse. One of the times was when I went to the store to get Cody's pain med filled after his surgery, and Charlotte went crazy without me there. The other time I recall she was beside herself all day, and we were starting to worry something was wrong, seriously wrong. Just as we were getting ready to take her to the ER, after literally a solid 12 hours (she also hadn't had a pooey diaper in over two days, and my nightmare is something happening to her large intestine like how mine went bad and had to be taken out), she suddenly stopped. We decided we'd wait and go the second she started again. She didn't.
Otherwise she doesn't even cry every day. Some days there's not a single cry or whine. We do our best to notice the cues that she needs to eat or has a wet or dirty diaper. Some days she'll let out the beginning of a wail, then stop as soon as she sees us going to her. Many days though there's nothing. She's almost always attached to one of us, so we notice right away and tend to her needs.
She's incredibly alert. That's something almost everyone who's met her, even strangers, have commented on. She doesn't just randomly look unseeingly. She focuses on people near and far, and will watch the object of her attention move about. She'll watch herself in the mirror, even if we turn with her. She'll turn her head and eyes to watch herself and give a huge baby grin. I swear she tries talking to us sometimes. She's vocalize sometimes when she needs her diaper changed or is hungry. She'll open her mouth and move it like she's trying to form words, and use her voice. If it weren't for a couple strangers commenting on how it seems like she's trying to talk, I'd wonder if it wasn't just me and her family seeing something that's not happening. She's blasting through milestones at an alarming rate, not only the mental ones and ones like vocalizing as she is, but physically.
She's able to hold her head up very well and turn it side to side. When held above out heads, she can hold her own head up and turn it. When aid on her stomach, she can push up with her arms and s starting to do the same a little with her legs. When held up and her feet are on a surface, like out legs or the carpet, she is starting to be able to support herself slightly, though I don't know if this is good for her just yet or if her bones need to solidify some more.
One the one hand, it would be nice to brag about a child being so gifted, if she is. On the other hand, we don't want her to be one of those children so ahead of the curve that she has a hard time making friends. I was that child in school, and I hated it with a fierce passion and was certifiably depressed by third grade and responded partly by taking it out on my body and by throwing my grades. We want her to get to be a normal, happy child, not one who sticks out in a way she may not want. But we're also trying to not overthink this. Sometimes children who start out behind the average milestones end up the smartest, and sometimes those ahead end up the slowest. Regardless, we'll love her more than anything.
It's an incredible feeling to lay in bed holding this tiny little body and know she's my daughter, to know she was created between us out of love. Sure, we didn't get to conceive her the usual way, as a physical act of love-making. But the lengths we went through to create her can leave no doubt that she was wanted so very much from before the start of the first round of IVF. Even before I had the first shot, we loved our future child(ren). And to hold her now still seems unreal. She is literally half of each of us. Even if we never ave another child, she is all we need.
I was sitting on the couch last night, leaning back with her on my chest, patting her back with my right hand, holding her head with my left. I can't begin to explain how amazing it is to hold this little head and know it's my daughter. I still can't believe it. Every time she spits up on an angora sweater, ever poo-filled diaper, every time she cries - these downsides to parenthood don't feel like downsides. I'd rather have them and have her than to not have them and not have her.
When she looks so intently into my eyes and then her face breaks out into a huge toothless grin, my heart melts a little more. Every time she is nursing and looks at me out of the corner of her eyes and reached for one of my fingers with her itty bitty hands I feel my heart ache from even more love filling it. I have the man I love. We have our animals. Charlotte is the element that completes life and completes me.
Even a little time away from her right now feels odd. All it takes is minutes without her and I want to cry and rush to her to hold her and kiss her. When I was in the chair waiting to have my wisdom teeth pulled, that entire three-hour ordeal was the longest I've been without her, and I wanted to cry. How Cody manages to go ten hours while he's at work, I don't know, even though he says it's hard and he has to find ways to distract himself. I'd go bonkers. When I was having a consultation tonight with a couple regarding the bride's wedding gown, this was the second-longest without Charlotte, just a couple hours, and I wanted to kick them out so I could go hug my baby. She's a part of me, even if we are no longer physically connected. She is still a part of me, and always will be.
I am still the same passionate seamstress at heart, still the ballet dancer (and I'll be returning to classes probably next month). My homemaking skills have been sacrificed to some extent as I no longer care about every single tiny thing being in its exact place, the kitchen sponges parallel to the sink and whatnot. But I'm a mom now too, Mom to a precious little princess, our incredible little miracle-child. And today is the day our little miracle turns six weeks old.
Our, uh, promotion of the day. Or something:
We love the cloth diapers we use. We're using the BumGenius All-in-One diapers. Amazing things. They look like disposables and go on as easily, and are leak-proof like disposables, but are in all kinds of cute colors! They're size-adjustable, so will take her from now until, well, hopefully she's toilet-trained as soon as I was (11 months, though my mom's goal was actually just to distract me when she was in the bathroom by sitting me on my kid-potty while she was on the adult one), but at least until age 2. We also use cloth wipes! Sure, there's still an eco-impact to washing them but it's much smaller than the energy it takes to make the thousands of disposables a baby goes through, all the gas to transport them, all the gas to run to the store to buy them, all the plastic and chemicals in the landfills! This is much less than the water and slight amount of power to wash them. And about washing - it's a minute to throw them in the washer, a minute to move them to the dryer, and a minute to toss them into a basket. It takes much longer to go to the store. And if you breastfeed, then you don't even have to scrape them. Just throw in the wash. Breast-milk poo breaks down so easily in the washer that no scraping ahead of time is necessary. If you do formula-feed, well, there are inserts you can put in the diapers that allow liquid through, but not solids, so you just shake that thing into the toilet and the solids flush away. And the cost! It was $406 plus shipping for the diapers and additional inserts to absorb more. And I think it was another $36 or so for the wipes. A baby goes through this much in diapers in a few months. Add a few bucks for detergent and power and water to wash, and you still come out ahead. Not to mention these things can be resold for about 75% of their cost!!
And there was my attempt to turn anyone reading this who uses disposables onto cloth instead. They're no longer the rectangle cloth things of yesteryear.